Shared-Use Mobility (SUM) commonly includes ride sharing, car sharing, ride hailing, microtransit, mobility on demand, and vanpooling services/systems, as well as other forms of transportation services that are shared among users, as defined in TCRP Research Report 188. The emergence of SUM practices in urban areas raises the question of how any of these practices can be applied in less populated areas. There may be an opportunity to use these urban SUM practices to address the unmet transportation needs in less populated communities. SUM applications have been successful at connecting people to mobility options, and there is increasing interest by small urban, rural, and frontier communities to pursue partnerships/SUM practices as a means to improve overall mobility and accessibility.
In less densely populated areas, fewer private transportation options, greater distances between origins and destinations, limited public transportation staff and resources, and lack of supporting infrastructure (e.g., wireless cellular network coverage and broadband) create challenges to successfully implement SUM options. However, some of these SUM options from urban areas may be properly scaled.
Research is needed to further existing research in this area to aid state departments of transportation (DOTs) in providing technical assistance to public transportation providers in order to meet the increasingly varied transportation needs of communities. The following reports produced results about SUM as it relates to its emergence as a new form of transportation and impact on urban public transportation, as well as broad case studies to encourage partnerships with public transportation in rural areas, but these reports do not adequately address the needs of implementing SUM in collaboration with public transportation in less densely populated areas: NCHRP 20-65 Task 76, TCRP Research Report 195, and TCRP Research Report 196.
The objective of this research is to provide state DOTs and public transportation providers with a report and implementation guidebook on innovative applications for integrating public transportation in less populated areas with SUM services and providers. For this research, SUM services include ride sharing, car sharing, ride hailing, microtransit, mobility on demand, and vanpooling services/systems. The report must include case studies of urban, rural, and frontier partnerships. The case studies, will at a minimum, highlight challenges and solutions addressing the following:
- ADA accessibility,
- regulatory, policy, and funding issues,
- service and cost efficiency,
- scalability to small urban, rural, and frontier communities,
- liability concerns, and
- data security.
Accomplishment of the project objective will require at least the following tasks.
Task descriptions are intended to provide a framework for conducting the research. The NCHRP is seeking the insights of proposers on how best to achieve the research objective. Proposers are expected to describe research plans that can realistically be accomplished within the constraints of available funds and contract time. Proposals must present the proposers' current thinking in sufficient detail to demonstrate their understanding of the issues and the soundness of their approach to meeting the research objective.
The research plan should be organized into at least four phases and describe appropriate deliverables that include, but are not limited to the following (which also represent key project milestones):
- Three interim reports and an in-person meeting with the NCHRP project panel. The interim report shall be completed within 6 months of project initiation. The panel meeting will take place after the panel review of the interim report.
- A final report that documents the entire research effort and includes an executive summary that outlines the research results.
The research plan may include additional deliverables as well as additional panel meetings via teleconferences. Teleconferences and web-enabled meetings will be hosted by NCHRP.
Work conducted in Phase I will include a literature search, an outreach plan to stakeholders, and a review of industry practice.
Task 1. Conduct a literature search on U.S. public transportation and integration of SUM in urban, rural, and frontier settings.
Task 2. Develop a data collection plan and stakeholder outreach plan.
Task 3. Conduct a review of industry practice and SUM providers. Develop criteria for the selection of case studies, and prepare an outline for the case studies.
Phase I will culminate in Interim Report 1 that will also include an updated, detailed work plan and project schedule for remaining phases.
Work conducted in Phase II will include implementation of the stakeholder outreach plan from Phase I.
Task 4. Conduct outreach to national organizations so as to gather information from innovative applications and/or lessons learned on failed shared mobility projects. Outreach may include focus groups and/or workshops held in conjunction with national meetings or events.
Task 5. Conduct outreach to public and private providers to identify a balanced pool of potentially scalable case study candidates. NCHRP approval of the case study candidates is required before the pool can be finalized.
Phase II will culminate in Interim Report 2 and will include an updated, detailed work plan and project schedule for remaining phases. Following a 1-month review of Interim Report 2, a conference call meeting of the research team and the NCHRP project panel will be held to discuss Interim Report 2. NCHRP approval of Interim Report 2 is required before continuing with future phases.
Work conducted in Phase III will include the implementation of the approved data collection plan based on the findings in Phases I and II.
Task 6. Conduct case studies and other relevant data collection activities.
Task 7. Develop examples or templates of contracts, memorandums of understanding (MOUs), memorandums of agreement (MOAs), and requests for proposals (RFPs) that public transportation providers may adapt and use.
Task 8. Develop an implementation checklist with supporting scalable strategies to accommodate innovative applications in less populated environments.
Task 9. Provide a detailed outline for the guidebook and the report.
Phase III will culminate in Interim Report 3 that will also include an updated, detailed work plan and project schedule for remaining phases. Following a 1-month review of Interim Report 3, an interim meeting of the research team and the NCHRP project panel will be held to discuss Interim Report 3.
Note: The interim meeting will be held at the TRB offices in Washington, D.C. NCHRP will host the meeting and be responsible for the cost of panel member travel to attend the meeting. NCHRP approval is required before work on future phases can begin.
Develop the draft implementation guidebook and submit it to NCHRP. After NCHRP approval, submit the draft guidebook to relevant industry professionals to vet the contents. Provide a summary of the feedback from the vetting activities to NCHRP. The summary also should describe how the feedback received will be used to revise the guidebook.
Task 10. Prepare and submit draft final deliverables that include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Draft implementation guidebook.
- Draft final report to incorporate the following items:
- Draft final summary of the research effort and methods.
- Short infographic briefing(s) for policy- and decision-makers on the key research findings.
- An implementation plan that identifies opportunities for dissemination and moving research into practice (see Special Note B)
- Webinar presentation materials on the research and deliverables.
Task 11. Prepare an overview presentation that summarizes the results of the research and includes speaker notes suitable for a webinar.
Status: Research in Progress.